One of the many jewels Rod Stryker laid on us during his recent trip to Charlotte is that yoga has the ability to multiply the current energy & issues that the practitioner currently has. If a neurotic person starts coming to yoga class and the neuroticism is not addressed, they just become a bigger neurotic. Without practicing the other limbs of yoga, the emphasis stays in the physical & the fires of the ego are stoked.
This conversation came up when Stryker touched briefly on scandals in the yoga community. He said they didn't surprise him because whatever a person brings to their practice only gets bigger when the internal work is not done. Now that physical yoga has become increasingly popular, these occurrences will become even more prevalent.
Many people come to yoga through the physical. It is tangible and they can easily relate. It is the perfect doorway to the mind and it keeps the body healthy so the practitioner can spend energy on greater pursuits. When people stop here & don't take yoga study further, the mind they see is the ego. The layers are never pealed back enough to see the pure being beyond that.
I came to yoga through Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga which is very physical. My early teachers constantly dropped jewels on me to remind me that the poses were not the end of the road. The name Ashtanga itself, which means 8 limbs, alludes to the other parts of yoga & is a constant reminder that there is something else to be found. My first teacher, Adele Gale, would always say " Yoga Chitti Vritti Nirodha" which roughly translates into "yoga is the cessations of the fluctuations of the mind". That line kept me focused on the bigger picture and reminded me that the definition of yoga has to do with the mind and not with the body. The body is just the tool.
Without constant Study or Svadyaya, the ego always reasserts itself. The road to hell is paved with self help books and little slogans that people speak but don't live by. The yoga world is also full of ego maniacs who don't practice what they preach. The key word is "practice". When the darker parts of ourselves make themselves known, we recognize them & quickly get back on our paths. Everyone is human and perfectly imperfect. Through studying the more spiritual side of yoga, balance is brought to the practitioner.
Asana(Physical Yoga Poses)
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